They come from all over in the Denver music scene including Swansea, Wales. That’s the birthplace of the “roughneck” guitarist of The New Mastersounds Eddie Roberts. Roberts will be bringing his form of “funky jazz or jazzy funk” to the Ed Rocks stage this Friday for the last of the KZYR/Alpine Insurance Agency’s Funky Fridays- the free music series in Edwards. I had a chance to chat all things music with Roberts- a self proclaimed ski bum- and now full time resident of the Centennial state.
Roberts has been plying his trade at festivals and juke joints around the world since the early 1990s. His band Mastersounds that became The New MasterSounds (NMS) has released some remarkable albums that get you dancing to what I call speed jazz. Starting as a BeBop cover band of sorts, Roberts and his sidekick in NMS, Simon Allen, have since produced nine studio albums and two live albums plus numerous world tours that have included stops in New Orleans, where Roberts well “met a girl and she was from Denver and well now I live in Denver.” It was also in New Orleans that, like The Sessh’s Cristian Basso, Roberts also found a home for his music.
“It should have been a tough place for a bloke from Wales to find comfort being so hot and all, but after our first appearance at The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 2007, a fellow musician said “Welcome home” and it felt right,” said Roberts. Since then Roberts has become a regular on the funky jam scene if you will, making fast friends with the likes of Galactic drummer Stanton Moore while performing with dozens of others like Karl Denson and Grace Potter. He also is familiar with the Vail Valley music scene from The New Mastersounds’ regular Ski Town Tour (gearing up again for this winter) stops at Shakedown Bar as well as subsequent appearances at Winter Wondergrass and now he makes his first Edwards appearance with The Sessh in the backyard of Riverwalk.
‘I love the Vail Valley and have lots of friends there from all my skiing and jamming so I am looking forward to sharing the music. With Cristian we will be playing some things with a New Orleans’ angle and well a lotta funk,” added Roberts when asked what Friday’s late afternoon performance might bring. It will be a rare opportunity to see a world class guitarist perform for free along the Eagle River and with the friendly block party atmosphere of the venue, one might even find themselves engaged in a conversation with a veteran member of the Denver music scene.
The thought that Roberts squeezed in this appearance makes you wonder how he does it. He is on a short break from an NMS tour that will heat up again in the fall as well as putting finishing touches on their tenth album to be called Renewable Energy. In between all of that, he has found a way to start a new band “my US band” as Roberts puts it called Matador Soul Sounds with Alan Evans of Soullive. I’m really not sure how he does it all, I’m just happy he found some time to funk things up for all of us this Friday as Eddie comes to Edwards.
PHOTO CREDIT TONY DELLACIOPPA